For the children.
Two items caught my eye today.
One, educational entrepreneurship is still rising (charter schools) as a "bold" idea to fix something that isn't broken (test scores-especially now that most schools teach to the tests.) The facts are that low SES students do well in spite of the lack of balance in funding (where the true problem exists.)
Two, a study that states that by the time a person reaches the age of 23 there is a 40+ percentage chance that they will have been cited/arrested by police for something other than a traffic violation.
What is this saying about our superficial care for a critical part of our population? I believe these two trends in our society are interwoven on many levels; economic, social/psychological and intellectual.
ECONOMICS: As we have decided that the business model is the future of our schools we have made money the focus of the school's functions (reading, writing, arithmetic are just policies that help to promote the brand.) In this model the output (test scores) become paramount to actual learning (critical thinking, civic awareness, etc...) and the result is a misunderstanding of the actual rules and customs that exist. Next, our justice system has devolved to another business model; the casino. There is no incentive to correct an injustice in this system. As long as the "house" keeps the money flowing the young (and we the people) will continue to lose.
SOCIAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL: It is apparent that some/most young people have been trained to accept the word of those in authority (some of it deserved.) However, If we are to believe the numbers involved in the study mentioned above then we have more than a serious problem with our justice system and it begins with both the police and the schools. Here are two segments of the population that hold tremendous power. The abuse of this power has made it difficult for our young to understand that they have the same rights and freedoms as every other individual in this country. Fear of authority is not a healthy seed to sow, let alone grow.
INTELLECTUAL: Schools are not businesses. They serve one function; to educate. The major problem with our school system is the inequality of resources available to students. It is not test scores and it is not teachers. It is the mindset of administrators who are business oriented and not education oriented. I don't see this problem being circumvented anytime soon either. We will be told our schools are failing and that it is the fault of the teachers and the only way to fix it will be to allow a for-profit business to assume leadership. I fear that this message has already been thoroughly sold to the "collective."
The young are no more promiscuous now than they were 50 years ago. Why do we put up with the justice systems abuse of our young? What are we teaching them about us? Do we really care about them? Our justice system is broke and the remedy is to allow it to continue to function (dysfunction) because it is TBTF (too big to fail.) Sure, I know, justice is served at some (not all mind you) meta-level by this system, but at a mega-level it is truly fucked up (the Supreme Court e.g.) Just a rudimentary knowledge of the Bill of Rights would help if it weren't for the fact that those don't seem to apply to us (we the people) either.
The lesson: Hypocrisy and fear is what we teach our children.
If at any point in your life you considered voting or siding with a republican, you are a mugwump. No ifs, ands, nors ors or buts. I might add that democrats are just a dimmer, less virulent version, but you may be forgiven for that lapse in judgment. The festering rot you see before you, if you take off the blinders for a second, is the result of our political system and specifically, republicans.
"A mugwump sits with his mug on one side of the fence and his wump on the other."
(loose quotation from the movie 1776 attributed to Ben Franklin)